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Stray moved her kittens to my porch...should I intervene?

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

Unfortunately I found the remains of a kitten on my front porch today. :( A neighborhood semi-feral recently showed up to my house pregnant, and I suspected it might have been hers. Later on I heard some crying and discovered her on the back porch with 3 kittens. I think they are around 2 weeks old. The kittens are in a very tight space behind some cages. The mother cat can't even fit behind there, she lies next to it and they crawl out to nurse. I feel like I need to give them something more comfortable like a small dog house, though I would have to disturb them by moving the cages forward and away from them. But I also figure she knows what's best for them. I don't know what killed that other kitten; maybe they're safer in that tight space. I expect her to take them somewhere else eventually as cats do though. Should I try to improve this situation or just leave them alone?

post #2 of 28

I'm not too sure, honestly. If they're in a small space, and seem safe but able to feed off of momma then i'd probably just leave them- or try making her a safer, more comfortable area near where she is and showing her it so she could possibly move them herself. Does she seem nice to you though? Will she let you pet her, or get near them? If that's the case then it might be a better idea [if you're willing] to bring her and the babes inside and try socializing her and her babes, then fixing her and adopting them all out when the time comes. But that's a big commitment and a decision you'll have to make. If you don't want to socialize her, you should still hopefully consider spaying her [so she doesn't have any more babies that you end up getting stuck with] and then returning her to your neighborhood. Obviously i'm no expert, these are just my thoughts! bigwink.gif We can never be too sure what happened to the other kitten, poor baby rbheart.gif, but all you can do now is focus your efforts towards the little ones on your back porch!! clap.gifGood luck vibes.gif

post #3 of 28
Thread Starter 

I was pretty alarmed when I first found them, but then they looked so peaceful nursing, and it was so sweet to see Pumpkin licking them and acting all maternal. She is pretty young herself, but I've heard this wasn't her first pregnancy. I decided not to disturb them tonight but will check on them tomorrow and decide if I should do something. That's a good idea - maybe I will just set the dog house out there and not move anything else and let her move them where she wants instead of handling them myself.


She hissed when I first came near the kittens but has relaxed since then. I haven't been very close to them yet since I didn't want to stress her. She is the affectionate rub up against you type but doesn't like to be touched. She acts like she's afraid of coming inside. I don't think she's ever been inside a house before. TNR is probably the way to go for her.


I wish the kittens were old enough to be weaned so I could take over their care. I would love to be able to adopt them out. The cage they are hiding behind happens to be the one I use for kittens that need some serious socializing. I've taken in a lot of litters before, but I usually don't find them so young that they still depend on their mother's milk, so I am nervous.

post #4 of 28
Thread Starter 

They are still here today. Here are some pics of the situation. They look like they're staying out from behind the cage now. The porch is not much more than a foot high, but I still think they are too close to the edge. I'm going to put the dog house near them now, but I'm kind of still debating on whether I should move all that stuff.






post #5 of 28

Not sure where you live, but I'd think something soft and protected from the weather might be a welcome change for mama and the kittens. Perhaps put some comfortable bedding in one of the cages and then put something over it to give them some protection.

Thanks for taking care of these wee ones (and mama).

post #6 of 28
Thread Starter 

I decided to move the cages and place the dog house with bedding there. I was nervous about moving her kittens, but they didn't look very comfortable where they were, so I just put them in there myself. Later I was pleased to find Pumpkin in there nursing the kittens. :) So I think she's ok with the new setup.

post #7 of 28

Yay!!!! clap.gifso happy to hear this update! You're doing a great thing for these babies.

post #8 of 28

 I was wondering about your kittens and happy to hear that they have a comfy home. What's your plan for them all?

Bless your heart!

post #9 of 28
Thread Starter 

Thanks. smile.gif  I will have to take an updated photo of how they are doing now. I was happy to see they are all still using the shelter today, so hopefully they won't be going anywhere. I'm planning to graduate the kittens to my kitten cage when they are moving around more, and then eventually to inside the house when they are ready to leave mom. I wish I could keep them forever, but this isn't my house so not my choice, and I want them to be somebody's inside babies. Mom will be spayed when her milk dries up (and I know I will have to act quickly) and then released outside as I think that is her preference. She is one of my outside babies now.

post #10 of 28
YAY....for the shelter you made for them woohoo.gif Just reading up on your thread. SO GLAD you moved them into the covered dog house. Perfect for them. Pumpkin sounds like a wonderful mother and I doubt she will move them from there and take them away. We will see. So Pumpkin has been around for some time now? Yes, good plan to get her spayed right away when those babies are weaned. Thank you for caring and planning on finding homes for the cutie pies rub.gifheartpump.gif Let us know how they are doing !!!! vibes.gifvibes.gifvibes.gifvibes.gifvibes.gifvibes.gifvibes.gif
post #11 of 28
Thread Starter 

Pumpkin is a very good mother. She stayed in the dog house with them all day today and only came out briefly to eat breakfast and dinner.


Not a great pic, but I just zoomed in on them as I wanted to give them space today.






And the pics below are from before I moved them, but I just wanted to share cute kitten pics.






post #12 of 28
Thread Starter 

Well today I noticed they were all gone, but I found the babies still on the porch in a tight space behind some baskets. I decided to put them back in the dog house, but after their mother came back she put them behind the baskets again and is now behind there nursing them. They looked very cramped. I'm not sure why she suddenly won't use the dog house anymore.

post #13 of 28

I wonder if it might be because it's too confined - maybe afraid of being trapped in. Just guessing here. Could you move the dog house so it's in a more "safe" (to mom) place? Or turn it? Or maybe just put some bedding in one of the cages in the first photo and putting a towel or blanket over the top of it? Maybe try giving her some options . . .

Glad they are still with you, though.

post #14 of 28
OH they are just precious.... just so adorable love.gif I agree with Catmom5, move the dog house closer to where she is taking them point the door to the wall or facing backwards so she will feel out of sight and more secure with them. I am just glad she didn't take them further away. Sometimes they will do that. She might feel a bit threatened at the moment, all of the attention and love you are giving them (which is so sweet and kind heartpump.gif) but to momma cat, it might be too much. Your doing a great job!!!!!! We are here to help in anyway we can hugs.gifvibes.gifvibes.gifvibes.gifvibes.gif
post #15 of 28
Thread Starter 

She has been looking for new places - apartments across the street, foreclosed house, even trying to get in our cars. So this morning I moved the kittens back myself and rearranged things, turning the dog house and putting it in the same spot the kittens were and moving things in front of the dog house so it's not so visible. She joined them in there and has been there all day, but I'm not going to get my hopes up that she won't move them again. I'll just be keeping an eye on her the best I can. Thank you all for reading/replying as I try to care for these kittens. smile.gif

post #16 of 28
Sure .... we all care for all of the little kitties in the world !!! biggrin.gifbiggrin.gif Let's just hope that momma will feel more comfortable with that dog crate turned so she and her kittens are out of sight. I think it is natural for mom cats to move kittens around so if they are being tracked by "something" - they throw off any predators by constantly moving the kittens. Not sure - just an assumption laughing02.gifvibes.gifvibes.gifvibes.gifvibes.gifvibes.gif
post #17 of 28
Thread Starter 

The kittens are still with me. smile.gif They are about 4 weeks old, probably closer to 5. Today the mom moved them to a very bad place - underneath someone's car. One was even up inside of it. frown.gif This is an extremely dangerous situation because not everyone I live with will bother to look for kittens when they get in the car. I want to start keeping them in my kitten cage just to keep them safe, but I know they are pretty young to be getting completely weaned. They do eat wet food but of course are still nursing a lot. I don't want to hurt them by putting a barrier between them and mom this early, but if I leave them alone they are bound to get hurt or moved completely to grow into adult strays somewhere away from me. Which route should I try?

post #18 of 28

Is there any way you can bring in both mom and the kittens?

I can't tell you what to do, but if I thought the kittens were in serious danger, I think I would snatch them and get them to safety, with the idea of letting mom join them if/when you can trap her.

It's a tough world out there and these little ones have no survival skills at this point . . .

post #19 of 28
Thread Starter 

I wish the owner of the house would be more receptive to letting the mom come in. I know the cat is terrified of it, but I'd least like to work with her. For now I think the best thing is keeping them protected, but I don't know if weaning them this early would be safe.

post #20 of 28

If she's moving them under cars and in dangerous places like that, and there is absolutely NO way you can bring her inside with the babies- I would probably just take the babies inside and from her at this time. I'm no expert, but i've read many forums where people have had to take the stray babies right around 5 weeks just to be able to socialize them, adopt them out, and prevent them from turning feral. I'd get some Kitten Milk Replacement, and start giving it to them in a dish, along with the wet food. You might have to bottle feed a little to make sure they're gaining if they are not all that great about eating on their own yet. I know it's always ideal to keep them with their momma as long as possible, but I would hate to hear that something horrible happened to the sweet babies, especially after how much work you've been putting in to save them! Like I said, i'm no expert- hopefully some of the more experienced members will be able to give you better advice.

post #21 of 28
Thread Starter 

One of the kittens is eating wet food very well, but the other two aren't showing any interest right now even though they nibbled before. I tried to bottle feed them, but they only ate a little. Not enough. So I let their mother walk into the cage and nurse. I've decided to let them still have contact with her a few times a day when I can be there to supervise the whole thing. She was very well behaved and didn't mind going into the cage to care for them. When they were done she did carry one back into the dog house they were using before, but I put him back in the cage with the others. I wish she could be with them all the time, but she doesn't know the danger of parked cars. The kittens have adjusted well to their new surroundings and have been sleeping in their bed and playing in there. They are just going through a hissy stage right now and need more socializing. I will have to post new pictures of them. They have the cutest faces. smile.gif

post #22 of 28

When Coal was found in a parking lot, her mother had been poisoned and crawled under a dumpster to die. She was about 4 weeks old when her bio mommy died. There was no weaning process, just suddenly, no food or milk or protection or anything. She and her sister we dehydrated and malnourished. We were able to nurse them back to health with kitten formula and now they are big happy healthy kitties. The formula says to start weaning them at 6 weeks, so if these babies are right at 5 weeks, and eating wet food, I don't see any harm in using the kitten formula and wet food versus mommy's milk and wet food. I mean, of course a mothers milk is always better, but the mommys milk will do no good if they are harmed by a vehicle or something. 


post #23 of 28
I think this is the best for the kittens and that is actually incredible that mom cat trusts you enough to just let you open the cage for her to go in and nurse the kittens. WOW - that is just great. I would continue to try to feed them the wet kitten food and hopefully soon they will be completely weaned and you can start to find them homes. If you are really unsure and need kitten advice, I would suggest posting a thread in the Pregnant/Kitten Forum here on site biggrin.gif You will get great advice in that forum on how to properly care for those kittens. They are SO precious and you are doing a wonderful, loving, caring job with them. hugs.gifvibes.gifvibes.gifvibes.gifvibes.gif
post #24 of 28

Hmmmm, I would go ahead and take the kittens. I've raised kittens from 24-hours old, and at least at this point in their lives they can stablize their own body temp. & if they won't eat cat food(try smearing their faces with it, works very well!), you can always supplement with cat milk. Since they're more than 3 weeks old, the colostrum(ugh, I probably spelled that wrong), level has dropped way down from what it was, and just after a few days and some encouragement, you can have the kittens drinking their milk from a bowl and eating kitten food with no issues, I'm sure.

I must say a big thank-you for your caring of the momma and babies thus far. Not many do take the time.I guess that's why there's still such a problem with cats & dogs overcrowding all of the shelters....

post #25 of 28

It's hard to know what to do! I am a cat trapper a TNR person..and I think I know more than most people. I had a stray deliver kittens under my shed. I left them there until a week ago when they started wobbling out. Well I got a big dog kennel and put the 6 babies with Mom in there..she went insane. So what I ended up doing was getting a big box putting the babies in it ..inside my shed with the door open. Mama goes in and nurses them. A few times a day I bring them out and they romp around. I have to stay out there because there are woods all around. Then I gather them up and back to the box. This will work until they get big enough to jump out. LOL. It's not a science but I think you have done well with them. At 5 weeks or so they will tame down nicely.

post #26 of 28
Thread Starter 

Thank you everyone. smile.gif


My kittens are 10-11 weeks old now and doing well. I found a home for the all black one but still have these two cuties with me. Also, I got the mother spayed two days ago. smile.gif They told me after the spay that she was already pregnant again. frown.gif



post #27 of 28
Wonderful update!!!! AWW they are just SO cute, really cute love.gif!!!! You have done a great job for ALL of them. So sorry about mom being preggie again, but honestly, you did the right thing. Unfortunately, most female cats get pregnant very quickly after the kittens are weaned or being weaned. Bless you for your efforts!!!! vibes.gifvibes.gifvibes.gifvibes.gifvibes.gif
post #28 of 28

They are both cuties! That's wonderful news that momma cat is fixed! We've had a couple that were pregnant when we got them fixed, & that's hard to do, but the best choice.

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